John Cooley has been around the Middle East long enough to recognize connections among the region's multiple crises. He takes us from Iran to Lebanon, from Lebanon to the Arab-Israeli conflict and back to the gulf. Most of the story he tells is familiar, involving the often bloody events of the 1980s-terrorist attacks, wars, hostage-taking. Much of this turmoil he attributes to American policy failures-hence the title. Whether one agrees with that premise or not, the book is a compelling account of a dismal decade in the Middle East.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.